New Zealand Cricket faces more than England as an adversary with news of two off-field incidents involving alcohol seeping into the public domain ahead of the first test.
British newspaper The Sun reported Jeetan Patel went out with friends last Wednesday night during the New Zealand XI tour match against England in Queenstown and hit his head, ruling him out of the second day's play. He suffered mild concussion. It was reported at the time as a virus.
A NZC spokeswoman said the Patel matter was dealt with at the time by team management and the NZCPA and no one from NZC would comment further.
Doug Bracewell cut his foot on glass after a party at his Napier flat. He has been ruled out of the first test against England but is expected to be right for the second test next week in Wellington. He told New Zealand Cricket Players Association boss Heath Mills and New Zealand manager Mike Sandle he had "a couple of beers" and wasn't drunk during a gathering last Friday night to watch Super Rugby at his house. He said the incident happened the following morning during the clean-up.
Coach Mike Hesson has denied there's a drinking culture within the New Zealand set-up and pointed out both incidents happened outside the national team environment.
However, the public's antennae are twitching after the team's dismal test performances in South Africa and the fractious circumstances surrounding Ross Taylor's dismissal as captain. Such incidents mean the professionalism of the New Zealand team continues to be under the microscope. It remains a distraction to their cricket focus.